Beautiful Bureau

I love family furniture hand-me-downs. We grew up in a house filled with furniture passed on from grandparents, family friends and more, and for me this is what makes a home cosy and familiar. As well as being unique pieces of furniture, they’re also little links to the past, filled with memories of where they came from.

My parents have a beautiful grandfather clock in their dining room which came from our grandma’s house. He seems to have his own personality and is incredibly fussy about where he stands. When my grandma moved from her house into a bungalow, he refused to tell the right time. Eventually (after many months of confusing my gran) my Dad took him apart, moved him to our house and carefully put him back together again. Obviously he likes it there as since then, as long as you keep him wound up, he tells the right time.

Now we have our own house a few pieces of furniture have been passed onto us to start a new chapter. A little set of shelves my Uncle made sit in our living room, a chest of drawers from my grans house looks perfect in our bedroom and now a bureau from my auntie and uncles house has found a home in our hallway.

It was looking a little bit tired and sorry for itself covered in thick black varnish. Out came the paint stripper to try and cheer it up a bit. Our initial plan was to paint it, but as soon as I started to scrape off the tar-like varnish I knew I couldn’t cover it up with paint. The wood was a warm colour and the grain running through it was amazing.

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I’m so happy with the end result and I’m sure it will be a long standing member of our family of hand-me-down funiture.

There’s a Mouse in this House

Our second day in York started off a bit damp, so as soon as breakfast had been munched we set off on a little adventure.

In our room was a book about York; where to go and what to do and while perusing the pages the night before we’d seen an advert for the Mouseman. A quick look on google maps told us it was a 30 minute journey to the visitor center where you’re introduced to the life and work of Robert Thompson, the craftsman who became famous for carving a mouse onto all his makes.

After a bit of a random journey (think relying solely on a sat nav that appears to be taking you deep into Yorkshire farmland and away from civilization!) and we had arrived at our destination. The place we had found was Kilburn which is where Robert Thompson’s original workshop is situated.

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So where did the mouse come from? Thompson was carving a screen for a local church and one of his craftsmen commented he was ‘as poor as a church mouse’. This little creature was then carved into the screen and onto every one of Thompson’s creations ever since.

If you’re in Yorkshire and want to see some rare traditional skilled craft, go and visit the Mouseman in Kilburn.

 

Cracking Christmas Cards

Now we’re officially into October, I feel a bit less premature talking about the festive season. After all it will soon be here, twinkling and jingling all around us – and you will be left wondering where November went!

I’m still on a bit of a mission to create a card range for Bumbleblue. I’ve moved onto brainstorming festive ideas, which I’ve absolutely loved! Being the fairy that I am, I love Christmas. As soon as I see those first decorations in the shops and hear those familiar tunes, my inner child takes over and I have a constant buzz of excitement right through until New Year.

Earlier in the year I found these fabulous tiny birds, perfect for cards. It wasn’t until I was painting some ‘Bobbin’ Robins’ that I thought about making some teeny tiny robins too.

As is usually the case, one idea spurs on another and before I knew it, the Bumbleblue desk was swamped with ideas, sketches, paint and material.

 

 

It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m really chuffed with some of my new additions and I hope you will pop over to my website and have a look!

www.bumbleblue.co.uk

Uncle Bill’s Shed

Anything you could ever want or need was in my Uncle Bill’s shed.

A collection of flower pots to cater for any size of plant and all the various fuses you could need in a lifetime filed into old tobacco tins. Ladders of all sizes hung onto specially made racks on the walls and any tool you could ever need all organised into a system only Bill could fathom.

A lifetime of collecting and storing and it’s amazing how much you can accumulate! A few weeks ago, we went over to the house to try and sort through some of the bits and bobs there.

Dad was the only one brave enough to go in the shed for risk of spiders while I waited outside – as long as said spiders weren’t clinging to anything he passed me. We discovered Bill had at least 3 of everything, including a separate shed full to the brim with pots and planters. In between these, were some very plain wooden boxes which caught my eye. They looked like they had once been containers for seeds and small garden tools. More little boxes were filled with dusty electrical bits and ties.

Hiding among all these was a lone red vintage OXO tin, and in the corner, an undisturbed pile of papers was sitting on another lovely find. A very old suitcase with the letters WHL on each end. This made it even more special, as these were Bills initials, William Hanby Lowe.

These things probably wouldn’t mean much to anyone else, but most of them would have been made and used before I was even born! This fascinates me and they will be looked after from now on.

Something Borrowed, Something Bumbleblue

It’s a day where nerves, hopes and high expectations float around everyone’s minds.

The two people at center stage will spend months, maybe years before merticulously planning every detail to make sure nothing is less than perfect. All this excitement and anticipation just for one day? It must be a wedding!

Everyone wants their wedding to be the most special and unforgettable day and more and more are looking to add personal, creative touches to make theirs unique.

I’ve got to admit, I never really got the whole wedding hype. Yes I want to get married but I haven’t been visualising my wedding dress since I was a little girl. It was only when my sister got married and I helped with her stationary, I started to see what all the fuss was about.

Some of my creations are perfect for someone wanting to add a bit of a handmade touch.

The idea of one of my creations helping to make the perfect setting for a bride on her wedding day is a great thought. Knowing how important the ‘little things’ are, I will hand craft every product to ensure every bit of my care and concentration makes the perfect favour or sign.

And lets not forget after the ceremony…

Picture Perfect

Ever since we moved into our own house, I’ve always wanted to create a wall of photos.  A whole wall filled with pictures of family and friends past and present just like a huge open photo album. I’ve got albums filled with our adventures and it’s always nice to dig them out and flick through them. Having all our favourite memories on the wall means we don’t have to find them to look at them.

 

I love the mis-match look with all the frames being different. Some are shop bought and some are my own creations (with a little help from my good friends Farrow and Ball)

Feeling the home interior bug, I finally got round to hanging my newest purchase. These gorgeous antique shoe lasts were an absolute find! I had always wanted a pair but often found they were a bit too expensive. A bit of searching and a LOT of patience, and I finally have my own set. Little bits like this really add character to a room and the history behind them and where they came from makes them even more special.

 

One Lump or Two?

I love scented candles and I think it’s safe to say I’ve got an unhealthy addiction to these and reed diffusers. They make my home smell amazing and different scents remind me of certain things or times spent with people.

A beautiful daffodil scented candle reminds me of a wine evening spent with my sister Zoe. It was summer and we’d just bought a new patio set so Zoe and I sat in the garden and enjoyed it (and a few glasses of wine). This was until Zoe smelt the rain – obviously a special talent on her behalf, and I insisted on folding all the furniture up and taking it inside just before a thunderous downpour. In my defense, it was new and I couldn’t leave it to get wet for the first time!

Another sandalwood and amber candle brings back memories of the first Christmas we celebrated in our house. Ed and I spent the whole Christmas together – something we hadn’t done in our 8 years as a couple! The candle was huge and an early present to myself (well why not) and it lasted throughout the whole festive season.

It would be nice to think that someone is reminded of something when they burn one of my candles.

So what scent to use in my new teacup candles? A recent present from Ed sorted this problem out, a gorgeous orchid with a delicate but sweet perfume. I moved Bumbleblue into the kitchen to start creating the candles…

I think the secret to making candles (and I’m by no means an expert) is ‘slowly does it’. Adding the wax slowly and in parts seems to create a more even candle in the end but this obviously requires a little patience! While the wax cooled, I got on with painting the wooden heart tags to add a touch of colour to the cups.

Tied together with string the teacups are finished off with a brown label and a little hand painted wooden heart tag. This turns them into a proper present and a great gift for someone who is as crazy about candles as I am!

Making a Bumbleblue Keyring

My hand painted keyrings always seem to go down very well whether it’s in one of my online shops, my website or at a craft event. When I’m preparing for a show, I usually pack as many as I can make because they just fly out!

They were one of the first ideas I had for a product when I started working with wood, and I still make them pretty much the same way. As the old saying goes ‘…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…’

Each keyring starts life as a disc of fine quality birch wood. My fabulous Dad then has the fiddly job of drilling a hole through each one and like a true professional he never moans, even when I turn up with 30+ little circles!

 

 

Each one is painted with a few coats of Farrow and Ball and is slightly sanded down giving it a lovely smooth surface with distressed edges. The letters are painted on by hand with a very small paint brush. As time consuming as this is I find it quite therapeutic, even though I tend to go a bit cross-eyed after the first 10 or so.

A little bit of string tied in a bow holds onto the keyring and adds the perfect shabby chic finishing touch. So there you go – it may only be a little thing, but I put alot of care into the making of every Bumbleblue keyring and I hope that anyone who buys one is happy with their new purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings from Bumbleblue

I love buying cards – Birthday, good luck, new home or just because.

It’s amazing how picky you can become when most cards are only really appreciated for a short time and then added to the recycling pile of papers. I’m probably a bit sentimental, but I’ve got cards that I’ve saved – some because of the occasion they were sent and some because of the sender.

Most of my 18th and 21st birthday cards are kept safely all together along with some new home cards from when Ed and I moved in together. Handwritten messages from friends and family are little links to the past and looking back through them always makes me smile.

This all said I’m an absolute nightmare when shopping for cards to give to people. It has to be one that I like and would be happy to receive. Then it needs to be what I think the person I’m sending it would like to receive, obviously! Finally, due to the similar strict process of present buying (don’t get me started) it needs to be a reasonable price. This all sounds pretty simple, but any occasion I need to buy a card it’s usually quite an ordeal and tea and some sort of chocolate therapy is required.

For quite a few birthdays I’ve ended up making my own cards after trawling from shop to shop without so much as a sniff of a ‘nice’ card. Creating a little collection of my own was a good excuse to wander round boutique card shops for inspiration. Alot of my ideas came from things I’d made in the past and a few of the gorgeous shops we had visited in York.

A new letter stamp set has already been worth its weight in gold;

 

 

 

Compared to my usual wooden products, cards are quite different, but I wanted all the cards to look and feel like the rest of my work. With the help of some extra tiny wooden shapes, they were given the Bumbleblue touch.

 

 

 

 

All packaged up, my first little lot are ready for my craft event next week – fingers crossed they will go down well!

 

 

 

Painting Presents

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front recently and for this I’m sorry!

As usual, I’ve not been twiddling my thumbs but painting two big projects, one of which being a present for some friends. They had a little boy last August called Ben and I know it’s what you’re supposed to say when friends have children, but he really is gorgeous. When he first came home we took him some name blocks for his new room.

I said on the run up to Christmas I didn’t want to over do the handmade present thing, so we hunted the highstreet and online for the perfect present. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than we first thought.

Quite often I will imagine a present for someone before I’ve seen it. This isn’t wise to do because what you imagine, nine times out of ten doesn’t actually exist and therefore can’t be purchased! Excellent start.

Me and Ed spent many evenings discussing what we could buy and ruling everything out just as quickly as suggesting it. We got side-tracked and started talking about things we had when we were young – favourite toys or games that kept us amused and amazed for hours. Luckily our friends escaped many childhood remembered treasures including a noisy penguin steps and slide game which, oddly enough I was reunited with by my sister!

Another memory was being measured against a door frame and the date being scribbled on to show how much we had grown.

Light bulb moment. A height chart! And what better image for little Ben to be measured against? Big Ben of course. So knowing this very specific present wouldn’t exist, it was off to Homebase to purchase a tall piece of wood and lots of paint.

The actual image took quite a bit of sketching and measuring and even more measuring, but eventually Big Ben was taking shape.

Now it’s with it’s happy new owners and waiting for Ben to grow!